Deep Dive 18 minutes Premium

Deep Dive: The Mall Is Not Dead, Part 2— The Mall Is in Need of Transformation

Executive Summary

This is the second report in our three-part The Mall Is Not Deadseries that looks at the US mall landscape with a focus on the challenges malls face and their need for transformation. In this report, we examine the department stores and specialty stores that constitute the bulk of mall tenants to determine what is working for them and what is not.

  • Malls are still relevant, but the US is overmalled and overstored. Increased competition from e-commerce, a lack of differentiated product, and a consumer base that is searching for value and craving experiences are forcing malls to transform in terms of format and offerings.
  • Department stores, which have traditionally served as mall anchors, have seen sales fall by 40% since 2000. These stores used to serve as one-stop shops for the entire family, but what was once a strength—mainstream appeal—is now causing trouble for some retailers. Already this year, 251 department store closures have been announced, and more are expected.
  • In the 1990s and early 2000s, consumer preferences shifted toward specialty retailers, which are now ubiquitous. Offprice and fast-fashion retailers that offer lower prices are thriving.
  • Store closures and bankruptcies have accelerated in 2017, in part due to the challenges that malls are facing. As of midMay, the number of announced major US store closures this year was already nearly double the number of closures
    announced in all of 2016, and 10 major US retailers had already filed for bankruptcy.

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